Leadership Starts with Knowing Yourself

This article was written by Josh Chen and published by CRU


When someone asks me to take on a leadership role, I experience two emotions: I’m flattered that they would ask and anxious that I won’t do a good job.

I once said yes to a leadership role and immediately had a sinking feeling that I wouldn’t be able to follow through. That sinking feeling lasted for months as I prepared for this role.

But at the same time, a Bible verse kept popping into my head. “Maybe this is a God thing,” I thought. Meditating on this passage has helped to lessen my anxiety about leading.

The passage was Romans 5:8. In it, Paul writes, “But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Amplified Bible). The verse struck me. God loved me before I loved Him. He loved me when I wasn’t following Him or obeying Him, and He made it possible for me to change my direction.

So my question was: If God loves me that much, why do I try to get my value from other things? Why do I find my value in what people think of me? God has already proven what I mean to Him.

When I asked myself that, something changed in me. I felt free — free to live and lead the way God had created me. I could stop striving for leadership qualities that impressed others.

My view of others changed too. I began to see others as divinely loved, from the homeless man on the street to the President of the United States and everyone in between. All of us were created to know God. I believe that selfless leaders motivate people to become who God created them to be.

Selfless leadership starts with where you find your own identity. If your self-worth comes from anything or anyone other than Jesus, it creates anxiety. You can end up pushing that anxiety onto the people you lead.

As I chose to believe what God thinks about me rather than what other people think, my anxiety faded. My motivations shifted too. I stopped focusing on my performance and started focusing on helping others experience the freedom I’d found. I wanted to lead people in a way that drew out their God-given potential as humans made in the image of God.

As leaders, we should ask ourselves these questions regularly:

  • Am I focused on my abilities or on God’s?
  • Am I looking for value or purpose outside of God?
  • Am I focused on my performance or on what others think of me?

Whatever the issue may be, the gospel offers a better solution. And as the gospel becomes greater in your own life, you’ll see it reflected in the way you lead.

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